Disabled Persons and their Rights in Bangladesh: An appraisal

Every person has their own rights. Disability cannot be a reason for not having the rights which a person needs for leading a normal life. In the Constitution of Bangladesh, Article 26 ensures the equality of all kinds of people. It states that, “Allcitizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law”. It shows us that all persons however his ability is, he has the equal rights as a normal person has. For ensuring the rights of disabled persons, first of all it is important to know that who can be called “Disabled Person”?

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.There are some conditions set by DDA that in which circumstances a person is called ‘disabled person’. These are

1)If they have a mental or physical impairment.

2)If the impairment has an adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

3)If the adverse effect is substantial and long-term (meaning it has lasted for 12 months, or is likely to last for more than 12 months or for the rest of the person’s life).

On the grounds of these points,it can be said that a disabled person is actually a human being with difficulties either physically or mentally .Moreover inthe whole world 10% people live in any kinds of disability[[1]]. That is a large portion of the population of the whole world. In Bangladesh, 16 million people are regarded as disabled person[[2]].From these reports, it can be easily anticipated that a large number of people are living with disabilities.

So, it is obvious that if this huge number of people can not contribute in the development of the country as well as the betterment of the whole world then the actual development or betterment can’t be possible efficiently. For these reasons, the rights of the disable’s have to be ensured. For ensuring their rights, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) was signed on United Nations Headquarter in 2006.Bangladesh has signed the convention and trying to work on its principles. As a result, an act has been passed named “Persons with Disabilities’ Rights Protection Act” in 2013.This act is based on the principles of CRPD. According to clause 16.2 of the Act, Any person, Institution,Authority or Organization that shows any type of discrimination against persons with disabilities, then the disabled person can complain against that discrimination and if the complain is accepted then he or she will get compensation. If anyone deny to give the compensation then litigation can be submitted directly or indirectly. This clause can help the persons with disability greatly. Though this Act has been passed but it hasn’t improved the state of disabled person. Everywhere in the country, disabled persons are not treated equally. But as we see in the developed country like USA, the rights of disabled are protected by Americans with Disabilities Rights,1990.According to this Act, there will be no discrimination between normal person and a qualified disabled person in any kind of jobs sector and educational institutions. It’s not only written in the law but also Americans have ensured their rights by not discriminating them with others. There are enough specialized educational institutions and job opportunities in the developed countries.

 In USA, public schools have made free for the disabled and private sectors are also doing great job in this regard.in our country, Ministry of social welfare ran 7 schools for the hearing impaired,5 schools for the visually impaired and 1 school for the intellectually disabled persons. At first the number was 47, gradually it became 64 integrated educational program for visually integrated persons. Several of the special schools or integrated program have been made non-functional due to mismanagement [[3]]. There is scarcity of teachers who can teach disabled persons. The teachers of regular schools aren’t efficient enough to know the ways on how to teach special child or how to maintain them.

Moreover, a disabled child may not get proper attention among all the students. So,there should be more separate educational institutions with efficient teachers and other equipment only for the disabled children. For disable person, there is 1% quota only in educational institutions and job sectors. It seems to be an advantage to them but actually this 1% quota is of little help. A few persons get the help from it. Even If they get the chances in any institutions or offices, most of the time they don’t get the support of their co-workers. Most of the time they don’t get the equal salary as a normal person though they work on footing compared to them. They don’t feel ease with other people because of other people’s disrespect and carelessness towards them. It doesn’t happen only in outside of their residence. Most of the family where any person with disabilities lives,aren’t treated with proper care and affection. Specially in rural area,disabled persons are regarded as burden and other villagers or neighbors torture them by throwing stones or pinching or other maltreatments. For the betterment of their condition,we have to increase awareness. We have to stop people from maltreating them. People should learn that their disabilities aren’t their mistake. There are some NGO’s working on this points but the number of such NGO isn’t enough. Government should work on raising consciousness of people.

 In case of succession, disabled person become victim of discrimination. Though in Muslim and Hindu law, now disability isn’t a disqualification for succeeding property, in our country most of the disabled person don’t get any property from their family members. Infact most of the time disabled persons aren’t treated like human being. This have to be strictly removed and they have to be given their deserving portion.

 The Protection of the persons with Disabilities’ Act 2013 ensures the public establishments must be accessible to people with disabilities. Moreover, in the Building Construction Act,1952 and National Building Code 2008, it has been stated that all the establishments should be designed and accessible to the disabled and the toilets should be designed so that disabled persons can easily use those. But in Bangladesh, most of the establishes doesn’t have pavements and ramps for the disable’s. A research shows that,90% of the buildings of capital Dhaka have no ramps for disabled persons[[4]]. It’s a matter of regret that, most of the hospitals have no ramps also. Proper measures should be taken in these matter. When constructing any buildings or educational institutions or hospitals, there should be made ramps and pavements for the disables so that they can move easily.In some developed countries, there are separate lane in the road for the disable person. U.S. Access Board has also taken the consideration for the visual and mobility impairment into the design of on street accessible parking, transit platforms and protected bike lanes.[[5]]In Bangladesh, the condition of the roads are so bad that accidents are occurring frequently.The roads aren’t even congenial for the normal people. In this matter, separate lane for the disabled is a very important issue which has to be take into consideration.

It’s evident that if we give opportunities to the persons who have disabilities then they’ll also be able to contribute in the development of the country as well as in the betterment of the world.

We should take some measures for that. These are:

1)Minimum one specialized educational institutions for the disabled students in every district.

2)Government and various NGO’s should work together for increasing the awareness of peoples regarding disabilities of persons.

3)In every kind of buildings and hospitals there should be ramps and easy pavement system for the disables.

4)Separate lane should be constructed in the road for disable person.

5)Anyone violating the ‘The Protection of the Persons with Disabilities, 2013’ Act, should be punished according to the law.





[2].<Disability in Bangladesh> http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disability_in_Bangladesh

[3]3.Disability In Bangladesh: A Situation Analysis, The Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory for The World Bank, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh

[5]<ADA-compliant protected bike lanes> http://www.ourstreetsmpls.org/ada_compliant_bike_lanes

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Sumaia Sultana Emu

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